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My sneaker collection has become a hiding place for half-eaten food and a lot of my video game covers have been turned into confetti, but as the adult in the situation, all you can do is create a pile of destroyed possessions in a closet, walk your punk ass to the refrigerator and make a bottle. Meanwhile Doc McStuffins leads your kid in a victory celebration..

Not flipping out in these situations is the most difficult task by far. Yelling achieves nothing but making you both upset. The baby is now crying because you’ve just scared his lunch into his diaper and you feel like you should be wearing a Ferguson, Missouri police badge. It’s a lose-lose outcome either way it’s sliced. The best bet is to pause, take a few deep breaths and imagine the feeling of handing that little gremlin a bill once they graduate from college. It works for me everytime.

Gaining the knowledge that nothing is off-limits to a curious child meant slowing down on the pricey stuff, putting most of my prized possessions out of reach and getting creative with more disposable objects. A cheap TV remote from Radio Shack that lights up is a winner and so is an old cellphone you had laying around.

If you really want to entertain a baby on the cheap, give them an empty, size-appropriate cardboard box or empty plastic water bottle (minus the cap). It’s surprising how long a baby will knock around and bang on those things. Once they’re worn out, in the trash they go and when a roll of paper towels or toilet paper is done, just sit it down right where they can see it and don’t say a word. Their passion for mischief will handle the rest.

Larry Hester is a Brooklyn-born writer who’s written for Vibe, BET.com, The Source, Complex and more. He now resides in Newark, New Jersey with his wife and son. He welcomes any parenting advice or encouragement. Check him out on Facebook and Twitter @almostcooldad.

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Almost Cool Dad: How To Lose To A Toddler With Grace  was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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